Ersel Hickey, a rockabilly singer best known for "Bluebirds Over the Mountain," has died at age 70, according to a longtime friend.

Ersel Hickey, a rockabilly singer best known for "Bluebirds Over the Mountain," has died at age 70, according to a longtime friend.

Hickey had been hospitalized at NYU Medical Center after surgery to have his bladder removed because of a tumor, according to Johnny Vallis, a friend and sometime publicist for the singer. He died after coming down with an infection, Vallis said.

Hickey, a native of Brighton, N.Y., started singing in his teens, as a solo act and also with R&B groups. His first record, released in the late 1950s, was "Then I'll Be Happy/Baby You're No Good." But he is best known for his 1958 hit "Bluebirds Over the Mountain," which he also co-wrote. It was re-recorded by The Beach Boys a decade later.

He also wrote songs for other artists, including Jackie Wilson's "The Millionaire" and LaVern Baker's "A Little Bird Told Me So."

Hickey had no survivors, according to Vallis.


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